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Tag Archives: 1920s

April 23

April 23, 1923 – Virginia Davis’ Parents Sign Laugh-O-gram Films Contract

On April 23, 1923, Alice Comedies actress Virginia Davis’ parents signed a contract with the fledgling Laugh-O-gram Films, owned by Walt Disney, providing the family 5% of receipts from showings of the film Alice’s Wonderland. Davis starred as Alice, a little girl who finds herself in a cartoon world. Unfortunately, this film was never released, as Laugh-O-gram Films went bankrupt; after Walt moved to California, he was able to sell the series to Margaret Winkler based on the film, and Walt was able to convince the Davis family to join him in Los Angeles to create more Alice films, starring Virginia. Davis accepted Walt’s offer in October, and the first Alice film, Alice’s Day at Sea, was released on March 1, 1924.


January 15

January 15, 1926 – The Alice Comedy Alice’s Balloon Race is Released

“Big Balloon Race – $10,000.00 Prize To The Winner”

On January 15, 1926, the Alice Comedy Alice’s Balloon Race was released to theaters. It was the 28th Alice Comedy to be produced, and the 12th to feature second Alice actress Margie Gay.

The short begins with the announcement of a Big Balloon Race, with a $10,000 prize for the winner. A band performs near the sign, drumming up excitement for the race. Alice and Julius are competing in the race against their nemesis Pete, who tells the crowd that Julius is nothing to be concerned with. The balloons set off, although Alice and Julius’ balloon doesn’t immediately take off. Pete tries to cheat and throws Alice and Julius’ balloon to the ground. Julius then has a difficult time getting it to fly, causing a fight between the duo. The pair then spot a hippo with a pipe and a spittoon, and Julius comes up with the idea to use the hippo to get then moving, thanks to the hippo’s sneeze by the use of red hot pepper. The balloon takes off, without Julius, and Alice sends down a ladder to pull him up, but forgets to hold the other end of the ladder, sending Julius tumbling to the ground. He continues to chase after the balloon and uses a rope to get up, but then the pair find themselves caught in a storm. The balloon is destroyed, and the pair fall to the ground, but Julius uses a dachshund and two balloons to send him skyward again, but this also fails. He then tries to use an elephant filled with air, pulled along by a passing bird. Julius then spends his time dodging lightning strikes, but then uses the lightning to deflate Pete’s balloon, which lands on Alice. Pete, angered by both, chases after them.

January 13

January 13, 1927 – President of Walt Disney Creations S.p.A and Disney Legend Antonio Bertini is Born

“There is always a market. There is never a problem when you give a good product at the right price. And Disney is a very good product.”

On January 13, 1927, Antonio Bertini was born in Milan, Italy. He attended the University of Pavia, and while there he explored market research, a concept that was unfamiliar in Italy at the time, and eventually graduated with a Ph.D. in political science in 1955. Soon after, he joined the Lever Brothers company in Milan as a planning officer, putting his skills to use as he coordinated the operating, marketing, and publicity of the company’s four Italian factories. He joined Walt Disney Productions in 1960, after answering an anonymous ad in a newspaper, as the assistance to Major John William Holmes, the Italian sales representative. Bertini had almost immediate success; he was able to negotiate several new contracts with Italian licensees to create Disney-themed projects, ranging from toys to housewares, and was subsequently promoted to sales manager a year later. At the same time, Bertini was also asked to join the Board of Directors, and after another stellar year, Roy O. Disney personally named Bertini the president of Walt Disney Creations S.p.A. Bertini continued to expand Disney influence in Italy through the 1960s and 1970s, creating educational films for the country and creating over a $1 million in revenue; this success helped lead the way for Disney’s eventual success in the home video market through the 1980s. Bertini was also instrumental in creating a booming publishing division in Italy for the Disney books, comics, and magazines, rather than licensing out the characters to other publishers. After 30 years with the company, Bertini retired from Disney in 1990; he was honored as a Disney Legend in the category of Disney Consumer Products in 1997.

December 15

December 15, 1924 – The Alice Comedy Alice the Piper is Released

On December 15, 1924, the Alice Comedy Alice the Piper was released to theaters. This is the 11th Alice Comedy released, and features first Alice actress Virginia Davis. Although not considered a lost film, it hasn’t been released on home video. This short film is based on the story The Pied Piper of Hamelin, and features Alice and Julius ridding a town of rats.

November 15

November 15, 1928 – The Alice Comedy Alice Rattled by Rats is Released

“Guard the house while I’m gone—“

On November 15, 1928, the Alice Comedy Alice Rattled by Rats was released to theaters. It was the 25th Alice Comedy released, and the tenth to feature second Alice actress Margie Gay.

The short film begins with Alice packing for a trip and telling Julius to guard the house while she’s gone. Julius waves goodbye and prepares for his duties to guard Alice’s house. As he patrols the house, a couple of rats start causing mischief. Julius tries to shoot the rat, only his gun isn’t working, so he then chases the rat into the house. Julius ends up falling into a barrel of home brewed liquor, and ends up falling down drunk. The rats have taken over the house at this point, playing the piano and dancing into a frenzy. The rats then use household items to create other musical instruments, and use the shower to create a waterslide. Julius is still walking around drunk, unable to stop himself from being abused by the rats. Alice returns home, confused, and Julius finds himself thrown out of the house and into a cactus patch. Julius then tries to get the rats out via a bomb, only the bomb is thrown back at him and Alice, and explodes.

November 1

November 1, 1926 – The Alice Comedy Alice Cuts the Ice is Released to Theaters

On November 1, 1926, the Alice Comedy Alice Cuts the Ice was released to theaters. It was the 36th Alice Comedy released, and the 20th to feature second Alice actress Margie Gay. It has since been classified as a lost film.

August 8

August 8, 1927 – The Alice Comedy Alice the Beach Nut is Released to Theaters

On August 8, 1927, the Alice Comedy Alice the Beach Nut was released to theaters. It was the 56th Alice Comedy to be released, the 9th to feature fourth and final Alice actress Lois Hardwick, and the final short film to feature the character of Julius the Cat. Like many of the Alice Comedies starring Lois Hardwick, the film has since been classified as a lost film.

July 11

July 11, 1927 – The Alice Comedy Alice’s Medicine Show is Released to Theaters

On July 11, 1927, the Alice Comedy Alice’s Medicine Show was released to theaters. It was the 54th Alice Comedy released, and the 7th to feature fourth and final Alice actress Lois Hardwick. Like many of the Alice Comedies starring Hardwick, the film has since been classified as a lost film.

May 21

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May 21, 1928 – Walt Disney Files to Trademark Mickey Mouse

On May 21, 1928, Walt Disney Enterprises officially filed with the United States Patent Office, looking to trademark Mickey Mouse. After Walt lost ownership of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Walt Disney Enterprises was certain that they would never face a similar situation. The trademark was called a “name mark,” which protects the character against similar names and similar logos. Anything that was considered too similar to Mickey Mouse, even changing one letter of the name, would infringe on Disney’s rights. This was the one of the first of many trademarks that would be filed by the Walt Disney Company.

April 11

April 11, 1925 – Roy O. Disney Marries Edna Francis

On April 11, 1925, Roy O. Disney, brother of Walt Disney, married Edna Francis in Disney’s uncle’s house on Kingswell Avenue in Hollywood, California. The two had originally met as children in Kansas City, and were introduced by Francis’ younger brother, who was working with Roy as a bank teller. Their romance prevailed through Roy’s service in the Navy during World War I, as well as his recuperation period over the southwest of the country. After they got married, Francis helped the fledgling Disney Brothers Studio, doing office work, as well as helping ink and paint animation cels. Francis continued to support her husband and his brother through their animation venture throughout her life.